|Directed by||:||Zack Snyder||Produced by||:||Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns||Story by||:||Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder||Starring||:||Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher||Production company||:||DC Films, RatPac Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment||Country||:||United States|
Four years after DC and Warner Bros. launched its new DC film universe with the Henry Cavill-starring Man of Steel, Zack Snyder’s long-awaited Justice League movie is struggling, both commercially and critically, to live up to the lofty expectations attached to the team’s first live-action appearance in theaters. Despite what should have been through-the-roof anticipation, Justice League had a bad opening weekend, becoming the first film in the DC’s current universe to open under $100 million domestically, while also failing to wow a majority of critics—though its 41% on Rotten Tomatoes does stand above the scores for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman.
Starring a legitimately stellar ensemble led by Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s Batman, Justice League unites some of DC Comics’ most popular heroes against, unfortunately, one of its most forgettable villains. But the weakness of Justice League’s antagonist, Steppenwolf, is hardly the film’s defining flaw, especially as generic villains are becoming almost commonplace in comic book movies—even some of Marvel’s best reviewed outings have had this problem. Rather, Justice League’s defining flaw is that it arrived in theaters well before any meaningful character development had been done to define most of its titular team, and characters are the key to making viewers connect with any film.
In a film that’s meant to be the culmination of the DC cinematic universe to date, almost every character other than Wonder Woman, Superman, and, only to an extent, Batman, is layered incredibly thin. Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone/Cyborg, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/Flash, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman are introduced in Justice League with little backstory other than a few lines of dialogue from Silas Stone, Henry Allen, and Mera, respectively. And while that may not be a problem for die-hard comic book fans, many of whom know these characters’ origins and personalities like the back of their hands, the uninitiated are left with a much harder time engaging with the film’s heroes. That’s a problem that would have been far less glaring had Justice League not been rushed to theaters before the majority of the team’s solo outings.